PHILADELPHIA -- Rockies right-hander Jon Gray believes the strain of trying to correct a mechanical flaw interfered with his performance in Tuesday night's 5-4 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.Gray ended with 10 strikeouts in six innings, but he walked four. The first two free passes set up
PHILADELPHIA -- Rockies right-hander Jon Gray believes the strain of trying to correct a mechanical flaw interfered with his performance in Tuesday night's 5-4 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Gray ended with 10 strikeouts in six innings, but he walked four. The first two free passes set up a Scott Kingery three-run homer in the first inning, and the other two set up Kingery's sacrifice fly in the third for a 4-0 lead, creating a big hole against Phillies starter Aaron Nola (8-2), who also fanned 10 and held the Rockies to one run on four hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Gray's rough beginning left him feeling largely responsible for the Rockies' fifth straight defeat. Tom Murphy, in his first game since being promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque, had three hits and drove in two runs.
"It's a heartbreaker. I hate putting us in a hole early," Gray said. "My teammates, they're fighting, and I really feel for them. I'm going to do everything to step up for them."
The Rockies' Opening Day starter the past two years, Gray (6-7) has been felled by fundamental flaws in his last six starts, during which he has a 7.98 ERA. Not pulling the ball out of his glove quickly enough to keep his delivery coordinated has cost him fastball depth. Taking that coaching point into the game, rather than just concentrating on his pitches, helped sink Tuesday's outing.
"I don't want to go out there thinking about my body. Just pitch and compete," Gray said. "Early on, I wasn't trusting that I was going to get the ball out and be on time. Once I stopped worrying about it, it was easier. If I can do that all game next game, it's going to be all better. We're going to be in a good spot."
Gray gave up just one baserunner outside of the first and third innings, but he'll have to fix the wildness. More pitches than one would expect bounced on their way to the plate, and one of those hit home-plate umpire Roberto Ortiz on the inside of his right arm that caused an injury delay.
The only other times Gray exceeded three walks in a game were in 2016 -- four on Aug. 12 against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park and five on June 22 at Yankee Stadium. But in his previous three starts entering Tuesday, he walked three each time.
"Hopefully, Jon will take those last three innings and move forward with it, but it's so imperative that Jon commands the fastball," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "For him to walk four guys is unlike Jon."
Like Gray, the Rockies -- who led the National League West on June 1 but now are in fourth at 32-34 -- were left trying to pull some positives out of another loss, one of which came in the form of a ninth-inning rally.
Colorado started the ninth with four straight singles against Phillies reliever Luis Garcia, who was then removed in favor of Seranthony Dominguez. Chris Iannetta added a pinch-hit RBI single and DJ LeMahieu a sacrifice fly against the hard-throwing Phillies right-hander, but Charlie Blackmon lined out hard to Aaron Altherr in right field before Nolan Arenado's game-ending strikeout.
The Rockies are now 0-31 when trailing after eight innings.
"You hate to go to bed feeling good about a loss, but the fight there in the ninth inning is big for us," said shortstop Trevor Story, who singled off Garcia in the ninth. "We're a very resilient team. We haven't had a comeback yet, but hopefully we can ride that."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Arenado, playing in the city that enjoyed Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt's career and who through the start of his career has mirrored some of Schmidt's accomplishments, added to his Gold Glove Award resume in the seventh. With two down and Chris Rusin on the mound, Cesar Hernandez's hard bouncer disappeared into the glove of a diving Arenado, who pushed to his feet and made a strong throw.
HE SAID IT
"Nola was so good, I think we were just ready to see some new pitchers." -- LeMahieu, on the Rockies mounting a rally after Nola exited the game
Tyler Anderson (3-1, 4.81 ERA) is coming off one of his best starts of the season -- seven innings of two-run ball on five hits, with one walk and five strikeouts -- in a no-decision at Cincinnati. The Rockies southpaw will oppose Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (4-5, 3.76) on Wednesday at 5:05 p.m. MT.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.